Resolve health crisis: Rights group  

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RIGHTS groups have bemoaned government’s failure to end the strike by nurses and doctors at a time when Zimbabwe is struggling with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Zimbabwean healthcare workers went on strike over poor wages and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) in early July, a situation the Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) says is hampering health service delivery.
 “The Forum remains seriously concerned by the wage dispute between the Ministry of Health and nurses which has remained unresolved during the time of the pandemic.
“The Forum therefore urges the parties to earnestly seek to engage and resolve their differences in the national interests of preserving the lives of citizens.
“The health workers have vowed not to go back to work until their salary adjustment demands are met as they continue to argue that they are incapacitated and they need to be provided with PPE. Nurses have been on strike since May, a critical time when their services are required in the fight against COVID-19,” the Forum said in a statement.
Recently, the government reinstated striking health workers on the payroll and promised it would review their salaries.
The striking health workers did not receive their July salaries after the Health Services Board (HSB) implemented the no-work-no-pay principle.
The new Health minister and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has come under fire for delaying to implement reforms to revamp the health sector.
Addressing farmers at the launch of the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Programme at Nyabvuti Farm in Guruve on Friday, Chiwenga pleaded for patience.
“We are working hard to improve our health delivery system at ward, village, district, province up to referral institutions. We are strengthening our system so that people can access medication easily.
“Our health workers are on strike. We are encouraging them to return to work so that we can save lives.
“While we are aware of their grievances, they should also consider saving lives.
“We are not blind to your issues. We are working hard to assist, but you should also consider the lives of patients.
“While we are addressing your grievances, we cannot expect a solution overnight.
“These challenges have been accumulating over a long period and will also take a little bit of time to be addressed,” Chiwenga said.

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